Over the past two years especially, the desire for adopting technology has increased in the construction industry. Companies are looking for leaner operations – to eliminate waste while becoming innovative with their workflows and processes. By necessity, they are looking to do more with fewer resources. This has changed the way projects are being planned, managed and executed.
Traditionally, subcontractors are the last teams to receive the project design and the last ones onsite to do their work. When issues arise or the schedule constricts, it shows up the end of a project, pushing the risk and schedule shortages to the subs to cope with. Since they oftentimes do not have an opportunity to give input on designs nor to provide feedback, this predicament can lead to frustration and affect morale. Although there have been changes in the industry, for instance safety apparatus and updated tools, construction work is essentially the same as it was 60 years ago. Many feel that the obvious solution involves a revitalization in construction – a paradigm shift.
Those changes may – and quite likely will – include pre-planning and prefabrication. An increasing number of contractors are seeing the potential benefits of prefab and industrialization, for instance DfMA (design for manufacturing and assembly). Even if just on a small scale, they are adopting and getting better at prefabrication and modular workflows. Just as agriculture and manufacturing have turned to industrial processes to increase production many times over, it seems inevitable that construction will follow, given the demands being placed upon the industry by population growth and shifts.
One of the biggest opportunities when implementing tech advancements is that it can be an attractant to the next generation of workers looking for a career. Everyone benefits when a company finds the right fit of people who have a passion for technology and that passion can help solve problems and address pain points a contractor has.
In addition, the use of the right tech can be a competitive differentiator for a company. With the right tech, you get advanced workflows; with advanced workflows, you can win more jobs. As you complete those jobs more efficiently, you are able to develop stronger relationships with customers. With trust in a relationship, there could be opportunities for involvement in the project planning process.
When tech becomes part of the company culture, insights can be gleaned along the way. It just makes sense to use that capacity and its resulting strength as a marketing tool. The inference is that investment in technology indicates dedication and commitment. Companies need to get better about telling their story of business development through tech adoption and use.
Listen today to episode 99 of Bridging the Gap podcast, where I talk with Tim Speno about the lost art of preplanning a construction job, the pressures that have been put upon MEP contractors and the importance of working through the trial and error of a technology pilot project.